Chat with Ashley Fox
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com NFL columnist Ashley Fox stops by to chat.
Fox joined ESPN.com in 2011 after 11 years as a writer and columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she covered the National Football League, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Philadelphia 76ers. She also has worked at the Louisville Courier-Journal and Sports Illustrated. A North Carolina native, Fox lives in suburban Philadelphia with her husband, daughter and son.
Send your questions now and join Fox on Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Ashley Fox (4:00 PM)
Greetings everybody. Thanks for joining me. Let's get going.
phillybirdsphorever (first place)
Ashley how would you like your crow served? Eagles in sole possession of first place. Any other biased opinions or backhanded compliments you'd like to share with the class? In reality we are the best team in the East bar none. The East is no longer the worst division in football and the Eagles are coming alive at the right time. So Ashley, who wins the East? Still the Cowboys or are you finally willing to concede?
Ashley Fox (4:03 PM)
I will take it grilled. I was wrong about the Eagles. I admit it. They've played great with Foles at quarterback. Chip Kelly has done an impressive job. To have the instability at quarterback they have had and still be in playoff contention is remarkable. Kudos to Kelly. And I do now think the Eagles will win the division. Dallas's defense has serious issues.
Of the last 15 Super Bowl winning teams you could argue that Brad Johnson, Trent Dilfer, and possibly Joe Flacco were not Top 10 passing QBs. How does that narrative change this year? I still believe a top tier QB leads their team to a Super Bowl victory. Am I wrong?
Ashley Fox (4:06 PM)
I'd disagree with you on Flacco not being a Top 10 guy, but that's another conversation. I do think it takes a top tier quarterback to lead a team to a Super Bowl victory, but we might have to adjust the list of who we consider to be top tier. I think you could put Russell Wilson in that category, although he certainly benefits from playing on the deepest, most complete team -- offense, defense, special teams -- in the league.
Mike P (Greater Kc Metro)
With the Gronk Injury... Is it fair to say that the Chiefs will win their 4/5 matchup against Indy, which we get a preview of in 2 weeks and could legitimately beat Tom Brady in Foxboro to then play Denver for a third time? I know its Tommy Brady, but with little to no weapons and no Gronk we saw how well this team played without him (close games to Bills, Jets, Falcons, Loss to Bengals)
Ashley Fox (4:09 PM)
There is no question that the Patriots offense is completely different without Gronk. The numbers back it up. It is a huge, huge loss for New England. The good thing for them is that they've had to play without Gronkowski already this season, and we saw the results. Could we see Chiefs-Broncos Take III. I think we could. That would be a tough road for Kansas City for sure -- two road playoff games to get to the conference championship -- but it's possible.
How is it possible the Dallas D is this bad? The iggles should roll right to the division title.
Ashley Fox (4:10 PM)
It's a great question. There are so many issues there. And watching them play Chicago on Monday night, it was clear that they just didn't want to be there. You can't discount what it takes to play in the frigid temperature. Chicago didn't mind it. The Cowboys clearly did. It was as if they simply were biding their time until they could hit the shower.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think Harbaugh and/or Tomlin will take a serious look at the Texas head coaching job?
Ashley Fox (4:14 PM)
Which Harbaugh? I assume Jim. And I don't know the answer to that. I can't remember who mentioned Jim Harbaugh as a potential candidate. Might've been Herbstreit. I would think -- and I have no inside knowledge of this -- that Harbaugh would stay in San Francisco. I don't see Tomlin being interested. The thing about Texas is they have the financial resources to at least try to get Harbaugh to have the conversation. It's a storied program. But ultimately I can't see Harbaugh leaving San Francisco.
Frank (Minneapolis) [via mobile]
Ashley, if the Vikings were able to draft Johnny Manziel provided he declares would he and Adrian Peterson be a better QB/RB combo than Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch? Plus with Cordarrelle Patterson open field running ability the Vikings would be a dangerous team next year.
Ashley Fox (4:16 PM)
I think Wilson is a special talent. I'm not sold on Manziel as an NFL quarterback. The scouts I've talked to have questions about him. We'll see. I do think the Vikings have a lot of young talent -- Patterson being the obvious one. They need to capitalize on Peterson, because his window isn't going to be open forever.
Greg(MD) [via mobile]
Is RG3 going down the Carson Palmer path?
Ashley Fox (4:18 PM)
I don't think so. I think if Shanahan had to do it all over again, he would've sat Griffin for the first three games of the season instead of the last three. He clearly wasn't ready. But he's got a ton of talent and upside. He needs a full offseason to really work on his game, on becoming a better pocket passer, of learning to more quickly read through his progressions. That will help. The question now is who will be learning from, because it's pretty evident it won't be Shanahan.
Ed (Queens Village)
Is Mike Shanahan an overrated coach? With John Elway 3 playoff trips, 7 playoff wins, 2 Super Bowl's, without Elway 5 playoff trips and 1 playoff win.
Ashley Fox (4:20 PM)
He was the head coach for two Super Bowl winning teams. You can't discount that. Is Elway overrated because he didn't win any Super Bowls without Shanahan? No.
Hi Ashley, Pine or Spruce? do you see Iggles relying on legs of McCoy or arm of Foles in this week's game in Minny
Ashley Fox (4:22 PM)
It should be a mixture of both. I kind of feel like McCoy has gotten overshadowed a bit this season because of how well Foles has played. McCoy is having a heck of a season. You hear defensive coordinators talk about players who keep them up at night. McCoy is one of those players. He's just so dangerous when he gets to the second level of the defense. And what he did in all that snow on Sunday was remarkable. It's like he was playing on turf and everybody else was playing on eight inches of snow.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Ashley, Houston Texans head coaching auditions, if Wade Phillips can put together a 3-0 or 2-1 record over the next 3 weeks will he likely be with Houston in 2014 or do we believe the rumors coming out of Washington that Mike Shanahan leaving the Redskins and becoming the next Houston head coach?
Ashley Fox (4:24 PM)
I don't see Houston making Phillips the head coach. They need a fresh start. Phillips would signal a dedication to the status quo. And look at the defense he's coordinated. All that talent and they've still given up something like 26 points per game. Texans owner Bob McNair wants someone with head coaching experience, and Phillips has that, but his record isn't all that great. As for Shanahan, I would think he will be coaching somewhere next season.
RAYGORDON REID ( MIAMI FLA 33124)
QUESTION TO ASHLEY FOX AT 4.25 PM HAVE YOU EVER COVERED A NFL GAME PLAYED IN SNOW
Ashley Fox (4:24 PM)
I was in Philly on Sunday, so yes.
Jack (Ohio )
Need advice on what Defense to use for week 15 and ROS, Cinn,.N.E. or N.O.? Thank you!
Ashley Fox (4:25 PM)
I don't play fantasy, so I'm not the best person to ask. But Cincinnati's D is no joke.
Do you think Seattle is a lock to win the NFC?
Ashley Fox (4:26 PM)
I do. They've got one road game remaining at the Giants and then get Arizona and St. Louis at home, where they haven't lost a game in two years with Wilson at quarterback.
Eli Manning led the Giants twice, and Roethlisberger's first Super Bowl were entirely based on a strong running game and a top defense. Even Brady's first Super Bowl was entirely on the defense. Brady tossed ONE touchdown in 2001.
Ashley Fox (4:29 PM)
The Roethlisberger comparison is apt, I think. He walked into a similar situation as Wilson has in Seattle. Strong running game. Dominant defense. If you're saying Eli isn't top 10, I'd disagree with that. He certainly has had a rotten year this season, but there are a lot of factors that go into that. Their line stinks, Hakeem Nicks has completely disappeared, it took them a while to settle on a running back. Manning has forced a lot of throws and has way too many turnovers, but I think when you look at his career overall, it's an aberration.
Don (Berkeley, CA)
Which team is most likely, or best suited, to upset the Seahawks at home in the playoffs?
Ashley Fox (4:32 PM)
The thing is, Don, I don't see anyone upsetting Seattle at home. They are scary good at home. Two weeks ago I would've said New Orleans was best equipped to beat the Seahawks on the road, but then the Seahawks obliterated the Saints at home from the jump. They were so physical and the noise really seemed to get to the Saints. Something really bad is going to have to happen for Seattle not to make it to North Jersey.
Afternoon Ashley! Still early I know, but who u got in the Super Bowl? & any chance the Pats make it? thanks!
Ashley Fox (4:35 PM)
I never say never when it comes to the Patriots, but I think the Gronkowski injury will be tough to overcome, given the other options they have. The Broncos have so many offensive weapons, but we saw what happened last year. I really think the AFC is harder to predict. Could be a year when Cincinnati gets through. That's a team no one is really talking about.
John (Los Angeles)
Elway isn't overrated because he didn't win any Super Bowls without Shanahan. However, Elway IS overrated because he didn't win any Super Bowls without Terrell Davis.
Ashley Fox (4:36 PM)
There you go. TD was special.
Alex (New York)
Would the Broncos REALLY want to play the Chiefs again? Sure they would be at home but the last win in KC they didn't have to face Houston and Hali wasn't healthy and many receivers dropped balls that could have made the difference. BTW in Denver the Chiefs didn't play a bad game and could have actually won if a few things went differently.
Ashley Fox (4:39 PM)
It's tough to beat a team three times in one season. And you're right that the Chiefs were at a disadvantage in the second game. In the first game, they seemed to take a few more shots down the field than they had in previous weeks. I'd love to see that as the AFC championship game.
Ashley, I feel like Deadspin was being a little underhanded in trying to prove you contradicted yourself. Can you put them in their place and explain?
Ashley Fox (4:40 PM)
I changed my mind after watching how severely the weather effected that game. I didn't think it was that egregious of an offense.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Ashley, do you think the Vikings will win any of their last 3 games?
Ashley Fox (4:42 PM)
Let's see: Home v. Eagles, at Bengals, home v. Detroit. I think the Eagles are too hot right now. Cincinnati has the best defense in the league. That leaves the Lions, who could be playing for the division title in that game. So don't be mad at me, but no.
What piece do the Lions need to contend for the long haul?
Ashley Fox (4:45 PM)
They're going to have to start thinking about the running back position and adding another receiver. Their window is definitely still open, though. They've really blown a huge chance to take control of the division, with Cutler and Rodgers out. They've lost three of their last four. You can excuse the Philly loss, because it was really impossible for the defensive players to stay with the Eagles skill position guys given the field conditions. But still.
Daniel (Denver, CO)
Do you think the Broncos should make resigning Eric Decker a priority this offseason? I don't know how much you can count on Welker given his injuries and age, and he seems like a good building block for a post-Manning team.
Ashley Fox (4:49 PM)
I'm sure Denver would like to keep their offense in tact as much as possible, but at the right price. Decker is a good player in that offense, but it's not like he's Demaryius Thomas. If another team is going to overpay for Decker, I would think Elway would let him go and try to find another receiver at some point in the draft.
Will Peyton choke again?
Ashley Fox (4:50 PM)
Did he give up the bomb to Jacoby Jones? I'm not defending Manning's playoff record, because given his regular-season success over the years, it should be better. But if the Broncos defense stopped Baltimore there, they would have won.
Is Jameis Winston a better prospect than anyone coming out this year?
Ashley Fox (4:51 PM)
I don't know about that, but he should collect some hardware this weekend.
Why does RG3 look so much worse than Wilson?
Ashley Fox (4:53 PM)
He's coming off a significant knee injury that typically takes a year to recover from (Peterson being the obvious exception). And it really hurt Griffin that he missed last offseason recovering from the knee surgery. It was only natural that he took a step back. And as I said, Wilson is a special talent playing on the deepest team in football.
Do you really believe the Seahawks were really that discouraged or worried about losing to the 49ers on a last second field goal in San Francisco when you consider they are still 2 games up on them in the division and on the track to home field advantage throughout the playoffs? The Seahawks aren't much concerned about the Niners coming to Seattle.
Ashley Fox (4:54 PM)
Did I say that? I don't think they were discouraged at all. As you said, it was a divisional loss on the road on a last-second play against a good team. It happens.
After how poorly this season went, do you see Tom Coughlin going through a rebuilding effort with the Giants?
Ashley Fox (4:55 PM)
I do. This is what he does. He's a football coach. He doesn't have any hobbies. He would go stir crazy if he retired.
Can the Bucs contend in the NFC next year?
Ashley Fox (4:56 PM)
This league is built on parity, so yes. But they are definitely staring up. It is a credit to them that they didn't quit on Schiano.
Ashley do u think Jay Cutler plays this wk? thx
Ashley Fox (4:58 PM)
It certainly sounds like it. It will be interesting to see if he does play and struggles early, what Trestman decides to do. They've got such a good situation there with the quarterbacks they have.
Before the season started I said the Giants would go 5-11...getting awfully close!!!
Ashley Fox (4:58 PM)
There you go.
Is Miami a threat if they make the playoffs?
Ashley Fox (4:59 PM)
No disrespect to them, but I don't really think so.
Ashley Fox (4:59 PM)
Alright everybody, thanks for all the questions. Appreciate them, and you. Have a great rest of the week.